Apparently gold is an unlucky color for frogs

The Golden Mantella is a critically endangered frog from Madagascar Photo: Brian Gratwicke Smithsonian's National Zoo

The golden mantella is a critically endangered frog from Madagascar Photo: Brian Gratwicke Smithsonian’s National Zoo

The golden mantella, Mantella aurantiaca, is yet another of the world’s critically endangered golden colored frogs. It comes from Madagascar where it is associated with screwpine forests and has a tiny range of 10 square km. Popular in the pet trade, this species is threatened by an unsustainable demand from hobbyists and was listed on CITES appendix II listed species in 1995 to limit the trade. In 2000 all Mantella species from Madagascar were also added to the list. Appendix II permits limited trade and Madagascar has an export quota for 550 animals each year. In addition to unsustainable harvest this beautiful little creature is threatened by habitat loss, including loss of breeding habitat due to gold mining. More than 1,500 golden mantellas are now managed by 50 zoos and aquaria around the world, and an in-country conservation strategy has been developed that you can read here.

And now for my gummy-bear impersonation.

hyperolius_benguellensis

A beautiful little reed frog (Hyperolius benguellensis)

This easily overlooked, almost translucent little frog can be found in ditches and ponds in Southern Africa. The males perch like little green jewels on reeds on the water’s edge. They spar with other males on flimsy stalks for prime breeding spots and advertise their presence to females with a short almost insect-like rasping rattle. If successful at attracting a female, the amplectant pair will lay clutches of up to 200 gelatinous eggs on vegetation just below the water’s surface.

The taxonomy of this group of small, green reed frogs can be confusing, but the pale paravertebral lines in addition to the dorsolateral stripes are one characteristic trait of this species. The frog is tolerant of disturbance and can be found in agricultural areas where it can be very abundant and it is listed by the IUCN as Least Concern.

Picture courtesy Brian Gratwicke.

Hanging around.

Ecuador Cochran frog (Nymphargus griffithi)

Ecuador cochran frog (Nymphargus griffithi)

Cute Frog of the Week: March 25, 2013

The Ecuador cochran frog is a brightly colored frog found most often on vegetation next to streams in montane forests. Although its name points to Ecuador, it appears to have disappeared from its original region and is now found most commonly in Columbia. The Cochran frog population is currently in a decline due to habitat loss from deforestation for agricultural development, logging and human settlement. The introduction of alien predatory fish to the area and pollution resulting from the spraying of illegal crops has also had a negative effect on the species. Due to these factors, the IUCN has listed them as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

Photo by Lucas M. Bustamante via Arkive.

Every week the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project posts a new photo of a cute frog from anywhere in the world with an interesting, fun and unique story to tell. Be sure to check back every Monday for the latest addition.

Send us your own cute frogs by uploading your photos here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/cutefrogoftheweek/

Are you talkin’ to me?

White-spotted cochran frog (Sachatamia albomaculata)

White-spotted cochran frog (Sachatamia albomaculata)

Cute Frog of the Week: March 11, 2013

The white-spotted cochran frog is a nocturnal frog commonly found in humid lowlands and pre-montane slopes. It is native to a wide distribution of land, from the Caribbean slopes (Honduras to Costa Rica), to the Pacific slopes (Costa Rica to Colombia), and is likely to make nests on leaves above water. A brightly colored frog, the Cochran frog is bluish green with yellow to silver spots covering the body. Even its bones are green, which can be seen when viewed from the dorsal side, thanks to their translucent skin. Because of their wide distribution and large population, the white-spotted Cochran frog is listed as a species of least concern by the IUCN.

Photo by Jorge Brito via Arkive.

Every week the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project posts a new photo of a cute frog from anywhere in the world with an interesting, fun and unique story to tell. Be sure to check back every Monday for the latest addition.

Send us your own cute frogs by uploading your photos here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/cutefrogoftheweek/

Stealing your heart.

Turquino Robber Frog (Eleutherodactylus turquinensis )

Turquino robber frog (Eleutherodactylus turquinensis )

Cute Frog of the Week: March 4, 2013

The turquino robber frog is a small frog, but large for Eleutherodactylids. It is a semi-aquatic frog found in small mountain streams in cloud forest and fragmented areas at high altitudes. Endemic to Cuba, this frog is known only from the Sierra del Turquino (Sierra Maestra Mountains) in eastern Cuba. These little robbers can be found on stream banks clinging to wet rocks in the splash zone, prepared to dive underwater for a quick getaway if needed. Due to habitat loss and their limited area of occupancy, this species is classified as critically endangered by the IUCN.

Photo by Ariel Rodriguez via Arkive.

Every week the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project posts a new photo of a cute frog from anywhere in the world with an interesting, fun and unique story to tell. Be sure to check back every Monday for the latest addition.

Send us your own cute frogs by uploading your photos here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/cutefrogoftheweek/

Nestled amongst the leaves.

La Loma robber frog (Pristimantis caryophyllaceus)

La Loma robber frog (Pristimantis caryophyllaceus)

Cute Frog of the Week: February 11, 2013

La Loma robber frog used to be found predominantly in the forests of Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia, yet recently this frog has been disappearing in increasing numbers. The deadly chytrid fungus, as well as habitat loss attributed to logging, farming and human encroachment, has had an impact on the wild populations of this species. The population effects have been the most drastic at lower altitudes, which is unusual, as most other species experience the heaviest declines at higher elevations. These small frogs prefer leaf litter and the low vegetation of primary moist and wet forests and rainforests. Leaves play an important role in the life cycle of these frogs, as females lay their eggs on leaves and brood them there. The la Loma robber frog is listed as a near threatened species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Photo by Andreas Hertz via ARKive.

Every week the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project posts a new photo of a cute frog from anywhere in the world with an interesting, fun and unique story to tell. Be sure to check back every Monday for the latest addition.

Send us your own cute frogs by uploading your photos here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/cutefrogoftheweek/

Small, but mighty.

Robber frog (Eleutherodactylus orientalis)

Robber frog (Eleutherodactylus orientalis)

Cute Frog of the Week: February 4, 2013

If you ever visit Cuba and spot this little yellow and black frog, watch out! The robber frog is toxic, and when touched can secrete painful toxins into the skin of other species, including humans. This terrestrial species is endemic and can only be found among leaf litter in hardwood forests of limestone soil, and sometimes on coffee and cacao plantations in Cuba. An increase in agriculture and tourism has resulted in the degradation of these critically-endangered frogs’ heavily restricted range.

Photo by Ariel Rodriguez via Arkive.

Every week the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project posts a new photo of a cute frog from anywhere in the world with an interesting, fun and unique story to tell. Be sure to check back every Monday for the latest addition.

Send us your own cute frogs by uploading your photos here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/cutefrogoftheweek/

Next, to bend space and time.

Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis)

Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis)

Cute Amphibian of the Week: January, 28, 2013

The hellbender has the distinct honor of being the largest salamander in the United States, growing as large as two feet long. It can be found in rocky, clear creeks and rivers, usually where there are large rocks for shelter. Its mottled appearance allows the hellbender to almost perfectly blend into its surroundings, making it quite the crafty salamander. Despite its name, this species is not a fan of warm water and strictly avoids water with temperatures above 68 o Fahrenheit/20 o Celsius.

The principal threat to this species is habitat degradation since it is a habitat specialist with little tolerance of environmental change. While it may seem like the sensitive type, do not be fooled; this species knows how to defend itself when push comes to shove. Hellbenders produce skin secretions that are likely unpalatable to predators and lethal in mice. At the current time the species is listed as near threatened by the IUCN.

Follow the Smithsonian National Zoo’s hellbender work at http://www.salamanderscience.com/.

Photo by Brian Gratwicke, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.

Every week the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project posts a new photo of a cute frog from anywhere in the world with an interesting, fun and unique story to tell. Be sure to check back every Monday for the latest addition.

Send us your own cute frogs by uploading your photos here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/cutefrogoftheweek/

Cuban Frog Crisis

Oriente Mottled Frog (Eleutherodactylus simulans)

Oriente mottled frog (Eleutherodactylus simulans)

Cute Frog of the Week: January 21, 2013

The crisis facing this little Cuban native doesn’t involve missiles, but it does require immediate action to save this frog species from extinction. Characterized by its dark mottled brown pattern on its dorsal surface, the Oriente mottled frog (Eleutherodactylus simulans) blends well among the rocks, leaves and streambeds from which it is found. Recorded only in five small locations in Cuba, this terrestrial frog is currently classified as endangered by the IUCN. Due to habitat destruction from increasing deforestation within the country, the Oriente mottled frog population is clinging on to its existence.

Photo by Ariel Rodriguez via Arkive.

Every week the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project posts a new photo of a cute frog from anywhere in the world with an interesting, fun and unique story to tell. Be sure to check back every Monday for the latest addition.

Send us your own cute frogs by uploading your photos here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/cutefrogoftheweek/

Black-eyed beauty.

Morelet's tree frog (Agalychnis moreletii)

Morelet's tree frog (Agalychnis moreletii)

Cute Frog of the Week: January 14, 2013

Also known as black-eyed leaf frogs, the Morelet’s tree frog is striking with its lime-green body, jet-black eyes, and vibrant orange underbelly. Found in moist, subtropical lowland rainforests and wetland habitats of Belize, Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico, this small frog species thrives in pristine sub-tropical habitats with permanent bodies of water in which they can breed. During the summer months, they will breed and deposit clutches of 50 to 75 eggs on vegetation or rocks over water. When the eggs hatch, the larvae fall into the water to complete their development into frogs.

Sadly, the Morelet’s tree frog used to be abundant in Central America, but because of chytrid, the species is currently listed as critically endangered by the IUCN.

Photo by Victoria Ogilvy via Arkive.

Every week the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project posts a new photo of a cute frog from anywhere in the world with an interesting, fun and unique story to tell. Be sure to check back every Monday for the latest addition.

Send us your own cute frogs by uploading your photos here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/cutefrogoftheweek/